How To Create A Master Resume
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A Master Resume Makes Job Hunting Easier
If you need a fast way to make great custom resumes, consider creating a master resume. It can save you time, help you get organized, and produce a tailored resume in less than half an hour. And it makes filling out applications for schools, scholarships and internships a lot easier and faster.
What is a Master Resume?
A master resume is a document that lists and completely describes all your work experience, accomplishments, and training -- all in one place. So if you have ever struggled to find old pay stubs, offer letters and transcripts -- this will help you pull all this information together and put it in one place in a useable form.
A master resume can be anywhere from four to twenty pages long. In it, you list every summer, part time and full time job you have had, along with internships and volunteer positions. Here you have the space to fully list your responsibilities, major assignments, special projects and accomplishments.
You also include all the classes you have taken, the degrees and certificates you have earned and all the details you need about dates, grades and special awards.
Once you have written your master resume, you proof and spell check it so it is ready to go. Now you have a complete, accurate and honest list of all of your accomplishments. You can place a complete copy of your resume in your portfolio to help you prepare for interviews and highlight skills not covered in the resume you submitted with your application. But the real power behind your master resume is the ability to quickly cut and paste selected work histories to create custom resumes and cover letters.
Why Invest The Time?
Creating a master resume does require investing a lot of time up front. You can spend from 4 to 20 hours, depending on how much work experience you have. But this investment pays off handsomely in the long run.
Here are some of the reasons why ...
- It streamlines making custom versions
Crafting a new resume or tweaking an old one for each job you apply for means you have to invest time and effort to write, spell check and proof each resume you create. If you use your master resume, you write your experience once and then cut, paste and check your formatting.
- It simplifies remembering past jobs
If you create a master resume, you only have to remember and write down the correct titles and other specifics of past jobs once -- instead of every time you want to look for a new job or need a very different resume.
- It helps you spot themes and patterns
If you have a "mixed bag" of past jobs, creating a master resume helps you see connections across activities that do not show up in a one or two page resume. You may have hidden themes that run through your favorite jobs which you never noticed. Seeing the pattern behind what you have done can transform what looks like a bunch of odd jobs into a varied background that uniquely qualifies you for your dream job.
- It helps you highlight your favorite tasks
It is easy to forget the small tasks that we loved about a job when we have to focus on writing about the major activities of our job description. When you take the time to document every task and project when you create your master resume, you can start to remember and reflect on your favorite tasks. For example, you might have spent only 5% of your time writing press releases, so it never makes it onto your one or two page resume. But realizing how much you liked doing it may change the types of jobs you apply for or decide you want to do it full time.
- It helps you overcome the problem of the generic resume
The problem with generic resumes that are written "to fit all jobs" is that they sound too general. Interviewers who have to cull through 2,000 resumes to get a pool of 20 to interview often set aside the generic resumes that were hastily tweaked, along with the resumes that lack polish, proofreading and the professionalism of spell checking. A custom resume that hits all the skill and experience keywords stands out and presents you as a possible dream candidate for the job. With the ability to cut and paste, you can create a resume that reflects all the relevant information for the specific job you are applying for.
- It allows you to describe different skill sets
Often we tend to think of ourselves as fitting into only one job category, and our resumes reflect that. But skill sets are transferable across industries, fields and job titles. So you may be well qualified for jobs you have never thought about. By writing down all your skills and experience, you can not only see the wealth of skills you have, but how you might combine them into different types of work categories. And you may have some gifts and talents you rarely use, but would like to highlight and develop. So a complete list of your skills helps you see how your skills fit together, as well as identify any holes or missing skills.
Using Your Master Resume
Once you have a master resume that includes ALL of your relevant experience and skills, you can create a customized resume for a specific job, scholarship or business opportunity. You can create a custom resume in less than half an hour by ...
- Making a digital copy of your master resume and deleting out what is not relevant. Then tweak a few keywords if the ad or application uses different but similar words for your gifts, talents, favorite things and work experience.
- Creating a blank document and then cutting and pasting relevant information into it from your master resume file so you create a new custom resume.
To make your resume more effective, you can then tailor it to fit the job advertisement and the company research you have done. So, like any great resume, your final custom resume should ...
- summarize your objective and reflect how this position will allow you to work on the problems, issues and needs you love
- highlight the work history which emphasizes the activities, experiences, people, tools, materials and things you love that this new position will involve
- demonstrate you have the key job skills by using keywords which describe your gifts and talents in descriptions of your previous work, accomplishments, and skills
The Next Step
Once you have a master resume, you may also want to learn about ...